Gang violence has escalated to new levels of brutality, public officials warn. Children are drawn into gang crime and threatened with death if they want to leave. Instead, they are forced to commit even worse crimes, such as murder, all to tie children and young people closer to the criminal activity.
Magnus Jagerskog of the organisation BRIS (Kids Rights in Society) says that many desperate children and teenagers contact BRIS to get free.
“Between late July and early September, two 14-year-olds and a 13-year-old were found murdered, apparently executed, in different parts of the forest in the Stockholm area. The murders are linked to gang crime, and prosecutors speak of severe violence”, writes Aftonbladet.se
During a press briefing in the Government, a politician said that children are lured to commit crimes with Pokemon cards as a reward. There are also cases of young people getting in touch with the possibility of committing murder to earn 5,000 USD or more.
Police officer Magnus Nilsson believes the situation has worsened over the last 1.5 years. He says that he has attended five parent meetings in the same week to convey the seriousness of the situation and help parents protect their children and young people.
The Swedish political party The Moderates writes on X:
“Years of fawning and romanticizing violence have allowed serious gang criminals to enter the halls and living rooms like any legitimate creator of culture. Criminals like Yasin have been celebrated on P3 Guld [a state-controlled radio show]. It matters who is portrayed as role models for young people.”
According to the police, two main types of young people are at risk of being drawn into serious crime in Sweden. Some teenagers are attracted by money and cars. Another group consists of easily persuaded young people who are forced to perform services for criminal networks. These can be as young as 13-14 years old.
Magnus Nilsson says that the gangs make up high-interest debts concerning the sale of drugs on credit and that these imaginary debts can be paid off through criminal services.
Nilsson says that some families take matters into their own hands and choose to move within Sweden or even leave the country. Some vulnerable families have assessed that if they stay in the Stockholm region, their sons will be injured, shot or murdered.